10 Life Lessons from The Spartan Trifecta

This year I undertook a feat. I, with limited knowledge, agreed to do a Spartan race. Now, let’s back up. I had no idea what a Spartan race was when I, naively agreed to participate. My friend and former client, Libryia Jones, said she wanted to do them, and no one would do them with her, I thought that was sad. So, with no investigation, I said: “I’ll do them with you.” What was I thinking? Before making this agreement, I thought people who did these types of races were stupid. Let me get this right; you are going to pay someone to crawl under barbed wire through mud, slide into dirty water and jump over fire? Why? But, if you know me, you know that my word is something I take very seriously. Even, though I made an uneducated commitment, I made a promise, and I was going to carry through. But, few things in life are just because, most are meant to teach you a lesson. I have learned, in my years as a trainer/professor/teacher, that most people are not ready to learn from introspection. People often need a surrogate for learning. This is why well-developed training or the best professors use stories and activities/simulations. If I say to you, “You don’t drive as well as you think” you would instantly become defensive and put a wall up against anything I tried to teach you about driving. But, if I avoid the conversation altogether and tell you a funny story about a lousy driver using all of the characteristics of your driving style, you will laugh but slowly begin to identify the traits you share with the driver in the story. Because no one called you out you are more likely to use the tools offered to the driver in the story to change your own driving style. I can take the learning even further is I told the story and put you in a driving simulation. Life, outside of the classroom, is similar. Few people are ready for the lessons life must give so we have to experience a parallel situation and hopefully make the connections. The Spartan race(s) are my parallel. So, here is what I learned about life in my, nearly year-long Spartan Trifecta process.

1. The sooner you recognize that poop will be on your path the sooner you can ignore it and get to the goal at hand: Spartan races can be up to 32 miles long. This means they often find land used for pasturing animals. This also means that removing animal excrement does not make the course set up checklist. The smell of animal feces is not only present it is pungent and visible. Though I am no first-timer, with each race I start off trying to dodge the piles of poop and poop residual left on the course. At some point in the race, around the 1.5 mile mark I realize that I have a choice to make, I can poop dodge or run the race. Much like the race, life too will have poop on the path; the death of a loved one is poop, being abandoned is poop, financial strains, poop, broken promises, poop, limited or no resources, poop, failure, POOP! You can exert your energy trying to avoid poop, which means you will spend your life looking down for the poop instead of focusing on what is ahead of you. Do you want to step in poop? No. But if you step in poop and keep going, the poop will mysteriously go away. Plus, life, like Spartan races, has showers. If you keep going to the end, you will be able to wash the poop off.

2. Sometimes you just gotta go alone, even if it was never meant to be that way: My first race was in Jacksonville, Fl. It was only 4-6 miles of obstacles. When I announced I was doing it, about 10 people said they would also race. At that race was my daughter as a spectator/cheerleader/photographer and I actually ran with four other people. It was great and I needed them. Many of the obstacles I could not have done alone, and at that point in my Spartan experience, I really needed people I knew to join me on the journey. By the second race, 8-10 miles of obstacles there were supposed to be 3 of us, but one had an injury, so there was only one other person and me. I needed a partner less but it was very handy to have one. This last race, the BEAST, I was alone. But, when I registered for the race over three months ago, I knew I would be alone despite the intention of others. So, why did I do it? I had to. Despite your best intentions and their best wishes, there are some things you will and must do alone. Did I need people to help me along the course? YEAH! And those people manifested when I needed them the most. Every time I got to a spot where I absolutely needed someone, they would appear, offer assistance and move on. But, let me tell you the real lesson. The real lessons were the opportunity to step out of deficiency thinking paralysis and figure things out. Sometimes, you just need to see who you really are and that doesn’t happen in comfortable places. The real you shows up when your back is against the wall, and you are out of options, it is then when you see if you will flourish or fold. I did some spectacular things in those moment, things that made the best trained folks out there say “Oooh, Imma try that?” Ohhs and Ahhs, only moments after my battles with self-doubt and the fear that I could not do “it” alone. Life presents so many options to amaze yourself and explore your strength minus others. No one intends to be a single parent, but you can do it, you started a business with a partner, but now you are a solopreneneru, you… and now you are alone. You can do it. It is ok to have self-doubt and fear that you can’t do it alone, but right after that moment of self-doubt, go ahead and flip backwards, by accident, off the obstacle and amaze EVERYONE, brush your shoulders off and run away like you meant to do that knowing full well you are more shocked than anyone else out there.

3. You are Hella Dope and acting like you are not, does not serve anyone well, especially you: I have always squirmed away from saying “I am Dope, actually Hella Dope.” This year my girl turned 40 and we went to Mexico to celebrate her. Each person picked a phrase that was common for her to say. I selected the phrase “Hella dope” because she says it and because I am. We often feel that saying we are amazing somehow changes the fact that we are amazing and it makes us humble. It doesn’t do either. J

ust because you won’t say it doesn’t change the fact that you are amazing. Humility is freedom from pride or arrogance. If you are Hella Dope and you pretend you are not, that is not humility that is lying. I completed the Spartan Trifecta, and that is Hella Dope. You have started a business, lost 15 pound, gone back to school, gotten out of an abusive relationship…All of that is Hella Dope, You Are HELLA DOPE and it is OK for you to say it!

4. Don't be afraid to say your big dreams out loud: Lisa Rozzelle will be at ExecuPrep by the end of 2019 (shhh, she doesn't know it yet). I only told a few people I was going for the Trifecta in 2018. If I am honest, I only told a few people for the same reason I only tell a few people most of the grandeous things I have in my head: I might not make it to the goal. I am not concerned about the haters and the saboteurs and the …I am not even afraid of failing, I am afraid of you knowing I failed. But there is something about speaking your goal to people, something about saying them out loud to someone other than yourself. Keeping it to yourself does not change the fact that you didn’t achieve the goal but it